I get a lot of emails asking me if it is ok to have cheat days on the fertility diet as it is so restricting when you are starting off.
Let’s face it, for most of us, drastically cutting carbs and eating a ton of protein is really different from our normal diet. I know in the beginning, I found the diet really hard and I wasn’t sure I would be able to stick to it in the long term.
The standard fertility diet that I followed and that helped me get pregnant twice after four IUIs and two failed IVFs calls for less than 40% carbs and more than 25% protein each day.
Let’s not even talk about the ladies with PCOS who are trying to stick to the ketogenic diet
For me, the hardest things were:
- Cutting out all caffeine
- Avoiding sugar or refined carbs
- Drinking fertility smoothies full of exotic ingredients like maca and wheatgrass
- Eliminating alcohol
- Saying no to diet sodas and other drinks when out at restaurants
It was easy to count my protein and carb macros when I was at home all day but as soon as a wedding or work lunch came up, it got really difficult.
I went on a work business trip to Mexico during the diet and it was so difficult to find good, healthy options that week.
If you want to learn more about the lifestyle changes I made to get pregnant, my ebook Naturally Fertility has lots of tips and recipes.
If you are starting the diet over the summer or during the holidays or near Halloween or your birthday or really, any day of the year, you are probably wondering how you will cope.
The good news is that while ideally, you would follow the diet to the letter until you get pregnant, a few days off won’t ruin everything.
So, Can you have cheat days on the fertility diet?
My opinion is that, yes, a day or two off during the whole 3 month plan is not going to ruin anything.
The fertility diet is all about the long game. The goal is to eat enough protein to make good quality eggs. A few days out of 90+ will not make a huge difference.
It’s more important that the majority of your diet meets the ideal ratios for 3 months than you go all in for 2 weeks then crash and burn.
That being said, there are a few things I did to minimize my cheat days.
How I made cheat days more fertility-friendly
The goal is to eat over 25% protein and less than 40% carbs so if I knew the day would get tricky later, I would eat a 100% protein breakfast (just eggs and turkey etc , no carbs) and likely more protein than normal.
That way I would have a carb deficit and be able to eat some pasta or chocolate later in the day.
If you are attending a wedding one evening, have a protein only breakfast and lunch to allow yourself some leeway to enjoy some wedding cake!
Balance it out
If I really went off the rails one day and ate 5 Christmas cookies (who me?) or a chocolate bar, I tried to bring my ratios back under control by adding protein to my diet that day.
If I went over the carbs limit, sometimes I would just eat a couple of egg whites or other easy protein to try and bring the ratio back down to closer to 25/40/35.
I really wouldn’t stress too much if you are off the ratios the odd day.
In the grand scheme of things, even on a completely off day, you are probably still eating way more protein than before so I think there is a still a huge benefit in trying your best to lower carbs and raise protein even if you don’t reach your targets.
I also aimed to do 25% protein and less than 40% carbs even though my gold standard was 30/40/30. That way I had a bit of wiggle room and still got all the fertility benefits if I hit 25%.
Look for fertility diet alternatives
If you do fancy a sweet treat or some junk food, look for options that contain the essential fertility superfoods or low carb options.
More good news about the fertility diet
Caffeine is ok
While I completely cut out caffeine when I was trying to conceive, new research has shown that moderate (yes, moderate) intake does not have an affect on fertility.
Click through to read all about the relationship between Fertility and Caffeine.
Low carb/high protein is in
When I did the fertility diet, the only meal plan that was really similar was the paleo diet. Nowadays, the Keto diet is all the rage and with it, lots and lots of recipes and meal ideas are easily available online.
My post about the keto diet and PCOS has some ideas to get you started plus a list of helpful resources.
I also love these Keto fat bombs that are a healthy treat that might help you avoid some cheat days on the fertility diet.
Do you have a tip or great recipe to share with others following the fertility diet? Comment below or tag me on social media and I’ll share it with my readers in my bi-monthly newsletter. (sign up for the newsletter below and get a FREE 5 day fertility diet meal plan).
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